The U.S. Air Force Academy selected VBS3 and VBS Fires FST from Bohemia Interactive Simulations and SimCentric Technologies for use in the Academy’s Military Strategic Studies Course.

The course is designed to train cadets to develop airmanship skills, while also exposing them to the different career paths available in the Air Force. Lieutenant Colonel Casey Tidgewell said roughly 250 cadets will gain exposure to Remotely Piloted Aircrafts (RPA) and air power operations training through this course every year.

“What we are trying to do is expose cadets to how the U.S. Air Force employs air power at the operational level,” said Tidgewell.

VBS3, a virtual environment application, allows military trainers to create detailed scenarios to train cadets in a game-based desktop simulation. It solves a problem that came from live training cadets in remotely piloted aircraft missions.

“Before we had any simulation, we had students go through pre-flight for the RQ-11 Raven and would teach basic flight and controls, but we discovered there was a deficiency,” said Michael “Ski” Golembesky, the ​instructor for the USAFA RPA Program. “Weather in Colorado can change on a dime, which can interrupt live flight training. By using simulation, cadets gain more experience in the communications and teamwork involved with air operations centers and remotely piloted aircraft. Simulation also allows us to show a more realistic approach to how RPAs are used on a tactical level.”

Golembesky incorporated VBS3 applications to the course curriculum, easing cadets into tasks from tracking an individual with a virtual UAV to complex special operations in nighttime missions. The system’s mission editors gave him flexibility to adjust scenarios and control the pace of the training, allowing everyone to train at a comfortable pace.

“We needed a simulation that was easy to use and user-friendly for college students, and VBS3 provided that,” said Tidgewell.

The program comes with more than 40 unmanned systems, operated from a generic UAV interface.